Wellington, FL- February 22, 2014 - Silvia Rizzo of Italy and her new horse Sal, a 15-year-old Lusitano stallion (Mississipe - Maia, Golegã), are beginning to forge a solid connection in the dressage arena after just 10 weeks together.
Although they are just learning to trust each other, the two have consistently boosted their scores during the Adequan Global Dressage Festival. The pair earned a 63.080 in Friday's Grand Prix CDI3*.
"I have to learn Sal's rhythm in the flying changes," Rizzo said. "I also have to work on keeping the same bend and rhythm in the pirouettes."
Rizzo's trainer and partner, Michele Betti, the former chef d'equipe of the Italian Eventing Team, is happy with the confidence with which Rizzo and Sal have been riding.
"I am very impressed with how they are starting to know each other and how I can ask her to improve some exercises and she does it trusting the horse and without any kind of doubt," he said. "I am really happy about this new combination and I agree totally with the judges when they wrote on their score sheet, 'Willing horse with great future.'"
Rizzo has been working diligently to put Betti's advice into practice.
"These days we work a lot on keeping the right energy for the piaffe," she said. "Michele wants him more seated and at the same time powerful from behind. Another important thing which Michele asked me to do is have more cadence in the right half pass at the trot while keeping a good bend."
"What was amazing for me is the feeling that Sal gives me at each show," she continued. "Sal is working with me. It's like he trusts me now and he is allowing me to ride him and guide him. From the entrance he is there with me! I had a much better feeling with the rhythm of the trot half passes [on Friday], but I had a 'blonde moment' entering into the extended trot. But he helped me out!"
Rizzo thought the piaffe had good balance and rhythm and the judges thought so too, as they received a 7.5 for the piaffe.
"What I really liked was that the judge at C was always saying, 'Thank you' to each rider at the end of their tests," she said. "That made me feel really pleased and grateful."
Rizzo and Betti hope to continue their upward direction with Sal as the competition continues this season in Florida.
"We are coming together and I am so happy," Rizzo said.